As I am training for my Ironman right now, I have been biking and running every free second I have. I usually bike or run through the neighborhoods behind my house, where it is very common to always see someone around either running, biking, or walking. Usually, I tend to see familiar faces now that I am at the peak of my training, and there are several men and women I constantly see walking.
These people probably walk every day, but when I look at their figures, they are obviously obese. Now, I know we live in a country where you have to watch everything you say, but the fact is, over the past 3 months, these people have not lost any weight. Before anyone makes any judgments let me say:
- I don’t know if these people have some genetic disease to prevent them from losing weight. I highly doubt it because most of the people I see walking tend not to look fit.
- I don’t know if they lost weight before the last 3 months.
- I don’t know if they have any knee replacement surgery or hip surgeries preventing them from pushing themselves harder.
In fact, I know nothing about these people except that they walk every day and are not losing weight.
Am I proud of them for getting outside and moving? ABSOLUTELY YES!
I am never one to judge anyone for trying to get outside and move, but unfortunately there is a problem I commonly see.
People come into my office every day and tell me their form of working out is walking 1–3 miles a day. When I meet people out in public and I ask them how they exercise, they say, “I walk my dog every morning.”
Walking IS NOT exercise! Let me say this again, WALKING IS NOT EXERCISE.
Is walking great for movement? Yes, but movement and exercise are two different things.
The definition of exercise is: activity requiring physical effort, carried out especially to sustain or improve health and fitness. The key in the definition is: REQUIRING physical effort.
Movement usually does not require any effort, as it keeps people in their comfort zone and doesn’t push their body outside the status quo. Also, if walking is effort for you, then once you feel it no longer becomes effort, then jogging or running would be the next step. If you’ve been walking for 6 months or longer the same distance and same pace and this feels like physical effort, then it may be time to reassess your strategy.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you have a goal of losing weight and you keep doing the same thing over and over but the weight doesn’t melt, then it may be time to change it up. 2
If your objective is to lose weight and get healthy, then you need to challenge yourself and never plateau. If walking is effort for you, then once it becomes comfortable and easy, then pick up your pace to speed walking. Once speed walking becomes comfortable and easy, then pick up your pace to jogging. Your objective is to never get comfortable and never plateau.
Let me know your paces and how this has helped you to challenge yourself even more.